by / Monday, 23 January 2017 / Published in News & Hot Topics

Following a storm, contractor fraud and unscrupulous contractor practices increases significantly as a result of homeowners desperate to get back into their homes. Following are a few suggestions to help avoid being taken advantage of:


  1. NEVER PAY UP FRONT: Following previous storms, we received numerous calls reporting that a contractor had required money prior to doing the work to go buy materials or for other reasons. The homeowner would pay and never see the contractor again. Any reputable contractor will probably have a credit line with a building supplier. You should only pay when the project is completed and has passed all inspections. Another option is to set up a “draw” schedule whereby the contractor can be paid based on a percentage of completion, but you should never pay for work that has not been completed to your satisfaction at any
  2. Try to get multiple estimates: This can be difficult following a storm as legitimate contractors get so busy and you are in a hurry to have repairs made. Often, insurance adjusters, agents and other professionals can help you determine how much you should be paying for
  3. Insist that your contractor obtain a building permit and have inspections before covering any work: The last thing the City wishes to do is become a bureaucratic obstacle for you to get back into your home by bogging you down with red tape. However, in addition to the rule “never pay up front”, having the contractor apply for a permit and inspections can be one of the safest ways to help guard against contractor fraud. We know the right questions to ask and the right documentation to ask for to make sure the contractor is properly licensed and insured. Most permits for storm damage repair can be issued within twenty-four hours of receipt of the application and proper documentation. Inspections can generally be performed within twenty- four hours of being called in.  When you compare that to the amount of time it will take to perform major repairs, the time it takes for permitting and inspections becomes less


Our hearts go out to you and we wish you all the best and a speedy recovery in every way. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

City of Hattiesburg Inspection Department: 601.554.1004 City of Hattiesburg Action Center: 601.545.4500